Illustrated Bible of The Hague

KB, 76 F5 - Koninklijke Bibliotheek den Haag (The Hague, Netherlands)

Alternate Titles:

Biblia Ilustrada de La Haya, Illustrierte Bibel von Den Haag

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Codiology

Alternate Titles

Biblia Ilustrada de La Haya
Illustrierte Bibel von Den Haag

Type
Extent / Format

94 pages / 25.5 x 16.5 cm

Origin
Date
1190-1200; Added text: 1290-1300
Style
Genre
Language
Artist / School

French style (1200)

Illustrations

172 coloured images in 45 full-page miniatures

Former owners

Joseph Désiré Lupus
King William I of The Netherlands

Short description

The so-called Illustrated Bible of The Hague is a 12th century French manuscript that has been illustrated from end-to-end. It originated in the Benedictine Abbey of St. Bertin in the northwest of France, but exhibits clear Byzantine influences nonetheless. Presumably, even the name of the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos is connected to the manuscript, as can be guessed from a reproachful text against Rome concerning the Second Crusade on two pages in the book. 172 images in total illustrate the Old and New Testament in marvelous, precious miniatures. A manuscript with a truly exciting story!

Facsimile editions available

Description

Illustrated Bible of The Hague

The so-called Illustrated Bible of The Hague is a 12th century French manuscript that has been illustrated from end-to-end. It originated in the Benedictine Abbey of St. Bertin in the northwest of France, but exhibits clear Byzantine influences nonetheless. Presumably, even the name of the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos is connected to the manuscript, as can be guessed from a reproachful text against Rome concerning the Second Crusade on two pages in the book. 172 images in total illustrate the Old and New Testament in marvelous, precious miniatures. A manuscript with a truly exciting story!

The Bible Illustrations

A total 45 full-page miniatures illustrate the 94 pages of the so-called Illustrated Bible of The Hague, each of which is divided into four image fields. As a result, there is a comprehensive pictorial décor of 172 illustrations altogether with scenes from the Old and New Testaments. They present the cycle of Salvation, beginning with the tale of Adam and Eve and ending with the Last Judgement. Additionally, a few tales of the lives and martyrdoms of saints are pictorially represented.

France and Byzantium

The precious manuscript with text in Latin and French originated at the end of the 12th century, it was finally appended with an additional text a century later. The illustrated Bible originates from the Benedictine Abbey of St. Bertin in the northwest of France. Nonetheless, the treatment of the miniatures, some of them presented against gold backgrounds, clearly indicates Byzantine influences. An extremely vivid color scheme, splendid gold figures, and flat representations distinguish the paintings in colorful decorative frames.

The Byzantine Emperor and the Dutch King

An additional indication of a Byzantine connection is hidden in the manuscript: aside from the clear Byzantine influences in the miniatures, one can find an indictment against the Second Crusade and against Rome on both the first and last pages of the manuscript. This has led to the assumption that the manuscript was originally a commission of the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos (1118-1180). Additionally, the marvelous illustrations of the Bible probably served originally as the preface of a Psalter. In the 18th century, the manuscript of the Illustrated Bible of The Hague found itself in the possession of Joseph Désiré Lupus before it was acquired by King William I of the Netherlands. It finally reached the Koninklijke Bibliotheek von den Haag in 1823.

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